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Washing and Soaking Rice Before Cooking - Is it Necessary?

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If you browse through Middle Eastern cookbooks, you may find that they always instruct you to wash and soak rice in water prior to cooking. Is this necessary?

Most long grain rice sold does not have to be soaked. However, some types of imported rice and basmati rice does have to be soaked. It separates the grains and allows for a more fluffy, less sticky rice.

I soak and drain basmati and all imported rice for 2 hours in cold water prior to cooking. It really makes a big difference in texture and in taste.
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